American Elephants


In a Difficult Climate, Republicans Have Some Stellar Accomplishments! by The Elephant's Child

andyspond

I wrote a couple of days ago:

Conservatives everywhere constantly wonder what is the matter with the left, and try to find a satisfactory answer. We just had what can fairly be called a “wave” election.  Republicans will control the House of Representatives by 247 to 188 Democrats. They will control the Senate, by 54 to 44 with 2 independents. The GOP controls the governorship and the legislature in 23 states compared to 7 states for the Democrats. Legislative power has slipped from the hands of the American left.

This is a marvelous accomplishment. Even if you give all the credit to Obama’s policies (He did say that his policies were on the ballot) instead of to the Republicans, it is something to celebrate. Yet what I am reading and hearing is how awful John Boehner is, and that the Republicans should dump him. This is not the people’s choice, it’s the choice of the members of the House about who they choose to lead them.

Back in October, the House had passed more than 200 bills, which Harry Reid promptly tabled, and the Senate passed a mere 59 bills. That’s possibly a record low. I think the Senate ended up passing 111, and the House over 400, but I’m not sure of those numbers. The point is that bills do not become law with just the vote of the House.

Much has been made of the fact that we won the election, and how come they didn’t repeal ObamaCare, slash the national debt and stop Obama’s executive illegal immigrant amnesty? Doesn’t work that way. Even with both House and Senate, a bill does not become law without the president’s signature, or enough votes to override his veto.

Did you notice that John Boehner outsmarted Obama in the 2013 budget negotiations and because of John Boehner federal spending has declined over a five-year period for the first time since the post World War II cutbacks. The sequester has decreased total federal spending 1.5%-2.0% in real inflation-adjusted dollars, and it will do the same in 2014.

Largely because of Boehner, and also the much maligned Mitch McConnell, the unfolding catastrophe of ObamaCare is fully a Democrat disaster. There has not been a single Republican vote for any part of it. They own it! That may be the reason Republicans regained the House and Senate.

Obama has told our enemies publicly just what our strategy will be and when we will leave the battlefield, which has made every military person cringe. John Boehner does not reveal Republican strategies in advance. His job is not to lead the nation, nor to act as a cheerleader for the conservatives or the establishment — but to weld a bunch of fractious politicians into a political band that can accomplish as much as possible in difficult circumstances. That means accepting losses where they are inevitable, horse trading, and trying to squeak some important stuff through in spite of the odds.

Nearly two million fewer Americans are receiving jobless benefits than a year ago, in part due to the elimination of an extended benefits program last December. Economists on both left and right agree that generous jobless benefits keep people from looking for work and discourages employers from offering work. Businesses have to pay higher wages to urge people away from benefit programs, and taxes go up to pay for the benefits.

The Cromnibus bill, that 1,603-page bi-partisan $1.2 trillion federal funding bill prevents the EPA from regulating farm ponds under navigable waters legislation. Not a big deal? Andy Johnson received a state permit to build a little dam to create a watering hole for his cattle along the Six Mile Creek that crosses his property. He did not get a separate permit from the Army Corps of Engineers because the creek flows into the Black Forks River which flows into the Green River which the EPA had designated under the 1972 Clean Water Act as a “navigable interstate water of the United States.” Fine from the EPA — $75,000 per day! The EPA’s attempted power grab is both far-reaching and outrageous.

The EPA can’t implement a White House proposal to cut dairy industry methane emissions by 25% by 2025. Their attempted listing of the greater sage grouse and the Gunnison sage grouse as endangered can’t be done until studies prove it necessary. There’s the poultry poop posse attempting to regulate chicken poop, and  an order to limit cow plop to eliminate 500 liters of individual cow emissions of methane. Reined in.

Obama promised $3 billion to poor countries in retribution for climate damage caused by our fossil fuel pollution — that got cut. Even Michelle Obama was reined in — school lunch programs will not be restricted by standard low-sodium and whole-grain menus. Kids will be relieved.

I complain a lot that this regulation business is getting out of hand. Credit John Boehner tor reining them in and for doing some hard bargaining.



HarperCollins Omits Israel on Maps Published for the Middle East! by The Elephant's Child

harper-collins_3151209b copy (click to enlarge)

HarperCollins has produced an atlas for use in the English-speaking schools in the Middle East that features a startling omission. There is Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank — but where is Israel?

Collins Bartholomew, the subsidiary of HarperCollins that specializes in maps, told The Tablet that including Israel would have been “unacceptable” to their customers in the Gulf and the amendment incorporated “local preferences.”

Muslim countries would “prefer” that Israel vanish — to omit it is a blatant lie. We are to produce propaganda to appease local preferences? (Note: Secretary Kerry, this should open your eyes to the reality of your precious “peace process.” The  Palestinians have no interest in any process that does not include the elimination of Israel.)  I would prefer that Iran and North Korea vanish, if we’re going down that theme, but reality is reality.

Bernard Lewis, the great scholar of the Middle East, in his book What Went Wrong? wrote that “For centuries the world view and self-view of Muslims seemed well grounded. Islam represented the greatest military power on earth — its armies, at the very same time, were invading Europe and Africa, India and China. It was the foremost economic power in the world, trading in a wide range of commodities through a far-flung network of commerce and communications in Asia, Europe and Africa; importing slaves and gold from Africa, slaves and wool from Europe , and exchanging a variety of foodstuffs, materials and manufactures with the civilized countries of Asia. It had achieved the highest level so far in human history in the arts and sciences of civilization. …In most of the arts and sciences of civilization, medieval Europe was a pupil and in a sense a dependent of the Islamic world….”

But the Renaissance happened, the New Learning happened, and the Muslim world for a very long time just didn’t notice. It was not until the nineteenth century that the language barrier was conquered and Western books became accessible. Direct observation of the West became possible. The question became — what is the source of the wealth and strength of the West?

Traditional answers to such a question would have been in religious terms. All problems are ultimately religious, and all final answers are therefore religious. The final answers given by traditional writers … were always “let us go back to our roots to the good old ways, to the true faith, to the word of God….There was always the assumption that if things were going badly, we are being punished by God for having abandoned the true path.”

“The Tablet said it had discovered the customs officers in one unnamed Gulf country only permitting the import of school atlases once Israel had been deleted by hand.”

That explains ISIS, al Qaeda, the Taliban and Islamic radicalism in general, but it doesn’t explain how to deal with it.




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